The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001
The first Fuel Poverty Statement was published by the Scottish Executive in 2002 under section 88 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.
Legislative requirements of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 require Scottish Ministers to update the Fuel Poverty Statement every four years by setting out the measures which the Scottish Government and local authorities have taken, are taking and intend to take for the purpose of ensuring, so far as reasonably practicable, that persons do not live in fuel poverty. The next update must be published by the end of 2018 and we have therefore included it in this Draft Strategy.
This Draft Strategy is clear that, to date, a wide range of activity has accompanied significant Scottish Government investment to drive forward a reduction in fuel poverty levels across Scotland. Given their key strategic role and depth of local knowledge, local Councils continue to be a cornerstone of our ambition to eradicate fuel poverty.
Delivery at a Local Authority Level
All local authorities are making significant efforts to tackle fuel poverty by strategically identifying and prioritising fuel poor areas to deliver a range of insulation measures to private sector properties; making partnerships with a range of organisations; and developing schemes to deliver advice and engage further with householders. From April 2013 to March 2017 Scottish local authorities have spent around £228 million of Scottish Government funding through the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland: Area Based Schemes. In 2016/17 alone, under these schemes councils were also able to take advantage of over £8 Million in Energy Company Obligation ( ECO) contributions.
In total, across all of our Area Based Schemes between 2013 and 2016:
- over 81,000 energy efficiency measures were installed helping to aid over 77,000 households;
- the gain in household incomes, over the lifetime of the measures installed was estimated to be in the region of £488 million; and
- the estimated CO2 savings over the lifetime of the measures installed was estimated at 2.42 million tonnes.
A number of local authorities are also looking at new and innovative approaches to address fuel poverty, including by introducing renewable technologies; considering local energy supply options; and through creative ways to provide advice and information.
North Ayrshire solar panel retrofit programme
Under this project, tenants and their families in up to 500 Council properties will have rooftop solar panels installed on their properties, which will be installed, owned and supported by the Council. These systems are expected to generate sustainable electricity over a minimum period of 20 years —electricity that can be consumed by tenants at no cost.
Through this programme, North Ayrshire Council aim to tackle one the underlying causes of fuel poverty by reducing the amount of electricity individual tenants import from the distribution network. Initial estimates project that a typical household could see a reduction of over £100 on their annual electricity bill, with the opportunity to increase this through proactive changes in behaviour.
Scottish Borders Home Energy Hub
Scottish Borders council, alongside Changeworks and using Scottish Government Energy Efficient Scotland pathfinder funding, have set up a local “Drop in shop” for energy efficiency advice in Peebles town Centre. This hub links local residents with home energy advice and funding streams.
Within the first three months of operation, this has led to 67 full home energy check audits by Home Energy Scotland, and an additional 56 households have been engaged at public talks and events.
Whilst it is important to reflect the breadth of activity local authorities have undertaken to reduce fuel poverty in their areas, at this time of change, we want to maintain a focus on the shift to a new approach for the future. We recognise that it has been challenging for Councils to set out the detail of their future plans in advance of clarity on the new Fuel Poverty Strategy; the new fuel poverty definition; and the statutory requirements to be take forward through the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill. All local authorities have committed to continuing to identify further actions that can be put in place to tackle fuel poverty in their areas, including through the delivery of area based energy efficiency programmes. Going forward, we are committed to working with local authorities and COSLA to develop a new and robust monitoring framework that will demonstrate effectively the activity being taken forward by local authorities and other partners.